TDG 2023 PLAYER TO TARGET: THIRD BASE
This is a companion piece to our 2023 Top 50 Dynasty League Third Base series. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
We’re all aware of the fact that outside of the top tier or two of third basemen, the dynasty position is ugly. I’m not going to try and sugarcoat that. The targets I would love to direct you to are the top 4 dynasty options – J-Ram, Devers, Riley, and Machado. They provide exceptional fantasy stats, will be impactful for several more years and are obvious targets. But focusing on them would be dull, and I’d like to at least attempt at making this somewhat useful. So instead I want to give you three mid-to-late round targets and help inspire confidence when you don’t end up with one of the upper-echelon choices.
MATT CHAPMAN, TORONTO BLUE JAYS (AGE: 29, RANK: 10)
After finishing an ugly ‘21 season with his second consecutive 30%-plus K-rate, many fantasy players were out on Matt Chapman. Those who stuck with him were repaid for their faith nicely with 27 homers, 159 R+RBI, and a .324 OBP over the course of his 155 games last year. The 27.4% last year was a nice improvement since his 35.5% high in the shortened ‘20 season, and below his career average of 29%.
In our internal 20-team #TDGMOCK, Chapman was drafted in the 8th round, 158th overall, and the 10th Third Baseman off the board (hey, that’s where we ranked him too!). Compare his surface-level 2022 stats with Rafael Devers, taken 13th overall in the mock:
If I miss out on a top-tier option and ‘reach’ for Chapman even 130 picks later, I’d anticipate losing only 10-20 R+RBIs and 20 points off the OBP. That is a comforting scenario. Those stats can be made up almost anywhere in a draft. Chapman is as consistent as they come and in an outstanding offense. His ‘22 season was in line with his career stats. Barring injury, which isn’t of large concern, a repeat performance in ‘23 is almost bankable. Chapman is my top choice to target in this ‘alternate’ group.
MAX MUNCY, LOS ANGELES DODGERS (AGE: 32, RANK: 16)
Max Muncy is a player who is getting forgotten this off-season. The UCL injury that took him out of the ‘21 playoffs seemingly carried over and impacted his ‘22 start. While the nagging injury and his age cloud people’s judgment, it also creates your opportunity!
How impactful was that UCL injury? Prior to going on the IL in late May with inflammation in the surgically repaired elbow, Muncy was putting up a very non-Muncy-like .281 wOBA and 81 wRC+. After those first two months of blah baseball, he returned to form nicely. He hit 18 of his 21 home runs with a .333 wOBA and 117 wRC+ over the rest of the summer. Max Muncy’s ‘22 season was a prime example of the old saying, ‘a tale of two seasons’.
We at TDG ranked him as the 16th best 3B in dynasty, but on my personal list, I have him at tenth. I think he’ll be great value as the 10th third baseman off the board and that you’d be getting a steal as the 16th. In our #TDGmock, he went only 4 picks after Chapman in a savvy move in the 9th round. He likely won’t provide exactly the same counting stats as Chapman (or obviously Devers) but his typically inflated OBP numbers and positional versatility really boost his value for any competitive dynasty roster.
ISAAC PAREDES, TAMPA BAY RAYS (AGE: 24, RANK: 23)
The last target I want to touch on is a player I actually own or am constantly trying to acquire in OBP leagues – Isaac Paredes. He’s obviously a deeper cut as he is TDG’s 23rd-ranked player at 3B, but Paredes has a lot of qualities that I look for in a bench piece.
As a former Cubs fan, Paredes has been on my radar for a number of years (oh Justin Wilson…). He’s the type of player that seems to fill out 4 categories easily and isn’t a defensive liability, so playing time isn’t a concern. Consistently, both in his minor league and brief major league careers, Paredes has put up near-elite walk rates with excellent K-rates. He came up through the minor leagues as a utility-type infielder, and the Rays obviously are using that to their (and our fantasy) advantage. In terms of OBP leagues, there is so much to like about his game.
Well, maybe not the power and speed. Despite a thick frame, Paredes’s power numbers haven’t been outstanding. His avgEV of 87.5 mph was in the bottom quartile last year and his 20 home runs were the most he’s hit as a professional. Though he’ll only be 24 this year so there’s plenty of time for that personal best to change. Paredes is almost a dead pull hitter, and he struggles versus right-handed pitchers. While he will continue to be part-time for the immediate future, the shift restrictions will potentially be of benefit to his AVG and OBP lines. So while you should expect a zero for steals – he hasn’t stolen a base since Double-A in 2019 – you should also expect him to provide excellent value on your fantasy roster’s bench.